The Future Belongs to Those Who Build It

By John Redmond

Here is the good news:  The Heavenly Kingdom is coming whether or not the Unification Movement has anything to do with it.

I’ve been reading a series of future-oriented books: Al Gore’s The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, Thomas Friedman’s Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, and the most interesting, Who Owns the Future? by computer scientist and father of virtual reality Jaron Lanier.

All three books tackle the same theme: how the convergence of multiple areas of science and technology, each developing at exponential rates, will transform the world in an unrecognizable way in the next 20 years. It takes about two decades for an idea to move from the lab to mass acceptance.

The iPhone debuted in 2007 and in 10 years both it and its competitors have made humans omniscient all over the planet, each with a library and powerful computer in the palm of their hand. “Google it” has become the ultimate argument settler.

In this sense, we are not predicting the future; we are timing the growth of ideas from concepts to products to mass acceptance.

The computer revolution by itself has been shocking and globally transformational and now add the imminence of robotics and the ability to end world hunger with genetically engineered protein.  Whether you like “Franken food” or not, starving people will love it.

Both artificial intelligence and robotics are on the cusp of creating either mass unemployment or a world where 80% of the people can live like the European elites did in the last century: vast houses, helpers everywhere, lots of leisure time to improve yourself, and cheap or free transportation everywhere.

Artificial Intelligence is demonstrating that it can not just calculate your bank balance in a microsecond, but predict health issues better than doctors, write better news stories than reporters, and beat anyone at Jeopardy.

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Interpreting the Principle: The Transformative and the Objective

By Keisuke Noda

The Unification Movement (UM) faces a number of challenges, most obviously denominational divisions. But another challenge is the relevance of the UM and its core teachings or beliefs to contemporary society and future generations who are expected to respond and succeed.

Such a challenge is difficult because it is not readily observable, and the way to approach or conceptualize this challenge is unclear. The issue is “hidden” presuppositions we take for granted that shape a wide array of our understandings and experiences.

For some, this article may seem merely an intellectual exercise. But the matter of presuppositions has far reaching implications for all practical exercises and activities, particularly the question of what they mean.

The Principle as Interpretive Framework

The Divine Principle (the Principle), the core teaching of Unificationism, provides a framework with which to interpret biblical texts, human experiences, historical narratives, and a broad range of phenomena from a theological perspective. The Principle is thus a Unificationist theoretical framework of interpretation.

But is the Principle free from interpretation? Or is human understanding necessarily interpretive and is the Principle thus subject to interpretation?

Human understanding is unavoidably interpretive and the framework of interpretation (the Principle) is subject to interpretation. I consider how one’s ontological stance affects his/her interpretation of the Principle.

First, I highlight two contrasting stances in interpreting the Principle, the objective and the transformative.

I then explore how such contrasting perspectives affect one’s interpretation of religious phenomena in Unificationism.

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Women, Science and the Future of Unificationism

By Alison Wakelin

Transitions are difficult, as both the Unification movement and world are discovering right now.  Restoration mode has given way in emphasis to further revealing of the Principles of Creation, and science is now coming into its own as a source of new insights for a new age. While it may be challenging to let go of previous modes of operating as a spiritual movement, we find deep truths emerging today in many fields which must be incorporated into any realistic and comprehensive future for Unificationism.

As women have become more involved in the academic and scientific world, a general picture is emerging of the differences between a man’s perspective and woman’s perspective. I remember my boss asking 20 years ago, “but what is women’s science?” I couldn’t tell him back then, but now I would be able to reply that women see things from a more holistic perspective, they often think more in pictures, more intuitively, and take in the whole of a situation at once.  Men tend to think in a more linear fashion, work out truths sequentially, and build up a worldview according to this method.

As a means for freeing people’s minds from the domination of the church in the early days of Western European science, the more male-oriented methods worked well, cutting out an ever-expanding corner of truth that held its own in rational circles, and gradually taking over as the predominant worldview in the West. However, its own success has brought us to a day when it is not unusual to find accomplished scientists asking if maybe science has simply tied itself up in its own strings. With uncountable solutions to the currently popular string theory (a highly theoretical mathematical scheme that regards a one-dimensional string as the most fundamental building block of matter), and no way to distinguish between these solutions, this has to be a valid question.

Even in the West, certainly since the early days of quantum physics and relativity, there has been a secondary track within science, based on the idea that matter itself is in some sense conscious, or at least has some kind of internal nature.

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The Real Four Position Foundation as Discovered in Theoretical Particle Physics

By James M. Powell

After escaping concentration camp in Heungnam, North Korea in 1950, Dr. Sun Myung Moon wrote the book, Ideal of the Circular Garden of Harmony. This text, lost during the Korean War (1950-53), was re-written as Original Text of the Divine Principle and eventually translated into English as Exposition of the Divine Principle (EDP) in 1996.

As you will see, the “Circular Garden of Harmony” refers to the underlying harmonious circular structure of the cosmos, the “garden,” at the elementary level.

In my previous AU Blog article in November 2016, “The Science of Spiritual Life and Death,” I stated there exist in the Principle theory unsubstantiated, or at least unverified, claims. In this article, I state this in relation to the Four Position Foundation specifically as the so-called foundation of the life of all beings.

What is the foundation of the life of all beings? What proof do we have that the Four Position Foundation is the fundamental foundation of all physical beings, all spiritual beings, and even God?

For example, theoretical and experimental particle physicists might ask to show how the Four Position Foundation applies to the plentiful assortment of elementary particles that make up the cosmos at the smallest scales. But do we have a model for that? We do. It’s the Four Position Foundation.

I’m not referring to a vague model into which we roughly fit some broad concepts like only plus and minus, but discovered forces and particles and their interactions in a mathematical structure that works. It must be a mathematical structure because, according to the Principle, one aspect of God’s nature, the Logos, the blueprint of the cosmos according to the theory of the Principle, is mathematical.

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Medicine: Eastern or Western, Conventional or Complementary?

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By Catriona Valenta

img_0437-jpg_lucid_1Let me declare a conflict of interest. My career as a provider of Western medicine has greatly influenced me, and I have never chosen complementary medicine myself, nor have I recommended it to my patients.  And 38 years of membership of a spiritual organization has not left me unaffected. I have long been fascinated by the sometimes fine line between science, spirituality and superstition.

It is undeniable that there has been an enormous surge of interest in “alternative medicine,” and with the ageing of our own UC baby boomers, many of us have friends who may be tackling serious illness with non-conventional treatments.

What did Reverend Moon mean when in his 1987 speech to health care professionals in our movement he said we need a careful blending of the Eastern concept of medicine (what is already being done in the Orient) with Western medicine?

I offer my answers to the following questions:

  • What is the “Eastern concept” of medicine? How can we define Eastern and Western medicine? Is it a purely geographical distinction? Where does alternative medicine fit in?
  • What can the different approaches contribute to make a system of health care that is holistic, principled and ethical?
  • How can we make informed and balanced decisions and as health care professionals help our patients to do the same? What sources of information are trustworthy?
  • Why do so many people shun Western medicine and chose alternative therapies?

Definitions

“Western medicine” is a system based on science, and is “evidence-based.” Many cringe at this term, but can one criticize the wisdom of “the judicious use of best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients?”

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The Science of Spiritual Life and Death

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By James M. Powell

jamesmpowell72dpi-jpg_lucidThe Principle text claims it contains truth that is of a higher and richer content than previous similar works, and that it has a more scientific method of expression.

However, much of its content, specifically concerning life in the spirit world and how we relate with it from our positions here on the earth, is left unresolved and unexplained with regard to science.

One such topic that we find without a scientific explanation is that of the grace of spiritual resurrection. What is the science of resurrection? How does a person die spiritually and subsequently be resurrected? What is the actual process of spiritual death and spiritual rebirth?

The main reason people who have been spiritually resurrected believe they have been spiritually resurrected is because they felt it happen. Such resurrected are 100% sure they’ve been spiritually reborn even though they can’t scientifically explain it.

Here is the problem. A feeling or belief does not provide the modern scientifically trained and inquisitive mind with a satisfying or reasonable justification to believe that the proposed invisible spiritual resurrection is plausible.

What if someone you know sincerely asks you to explain how spiritual resurrection actually happens and they want to hear more than to just be told to believe and it will happen?

What if they genuinely want, and all they need, is a common sense understanding of this phenomenon in order to calm their doubting or questioning intellect before they make the step to believe? After all, it is noted in the Principle that without first understanding, beliefs do not take hold.

People are no longer happy to blindly believe nor should they need to.

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A Solution to Global Warming and Clean Energy Needs

By Jim Dougherty

Jim DoughertyToday, global warming is both a threat to our shared human environment, and, if responded to wisely, it is an opportunity to improve living conditions for people worldwide.

Over the last 250 years, the average global temperature has increased approximately 1.5 degrees Celsius. This average incremental increase in temperature corresponds almost exactly to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas of concern, because it is emitted on such a huge scale by modern industrial civilization.

To put this in what is perhaps an unfortunate perspective, the planet-wide impact of human-caused global warming is estimated to be the equivalent of detonating about 400,000 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs each day or 4.6 atomic bombs per second.

That heat has to go somewhere, and scientists don’t fully understand how the earth is dealing with all the extra heat. Global temperature will continue to increase if nothing is done — but it’s hard to predict how bad or what the consequences will be.

The key is not the problem but the solutions — none of the ones being proposed currently have any realistic chance of succeeding.

Despite 40 years of concerted effort, conventional clean energy technologies, while making impressive gains, do not yet have the capacity or efficiency to fully address global warming and energy needs worldwide.

In the United States, renewable energy sources account for 11.09% of U.S. energy consumption. Half of the renewables include biomass (organic) (5.5%) which is not emissions free. The remainder is made up of hydroelectric (2.83%), wind (1.98%), solar (.48%), and geothermal (.25%).

Under the best case scenario, solar would add 1% capacity per year and is still expensive at around 21 cents per kilowatt-hour. Though falling, its cost far exceeds that of natural gas which has a cost of around 5.7 cents per kilowatt hour.

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Immortality: Reconsidering Unification Teaching on Eternal Life

By Jack LaValley

Jack LaValleyDivine Principle (DP) teaches all human beings are created to live forever in an invisible spirit world with God. In this article, I review Unification teaching on eternal life and suggest ways to improve it. This is important because the DP view of spiritual realities and how we can know about them is based on metaphysical assumptions no longer tenable in the modern/postmodern world. I make the case DP teaching on eternal life needs to be updated and offer points to consider to start this process.

Unification teaching demands no empirical evidence to verify its truth claims about eternal life. DP assumes when we die the same individual personality from earthly life continues in the spirit world:

“Our spirit self, or spirit, is a substantial yet incorporeal reality which can be apprehended only through the spiritual senses.  It is the subject partner to our physical self.  Our spirit can communicate directly with God and is meant to govern the incorporeal world, including the angels. In appearance, our spirit self matches our physical self.  After we shed the physical self, we enter the spirit world and live there for eternity (DP, p. 48).”

Based on the assumption human beings go to spirit world after bodily death and maintain the same personality embodied while living on earth, DP teaches the doctrine of returning resurrection. It explains how human beings living as spirit selves in spirit world “come down to earth” to exert influence over earthly people. During the 1980s and 1990s, two dramatic expressions of returning resurrection occurred in the Unification faith community, seeming to prove the existence of spirit world and spirit being interaction with earthly people (cf. 40 Years in America: An Intimate History of the Unification Movement, pp. 397-401; pp. 550-58).

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Evolution and Unification Thought

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By David Burton

BurtonWhen dealing with issues of science and religion, evolution is probably the most well-known point of contention. The two camps, “Creationist” and “Evolutionist,” are entrenched. Most Unificationists tend to side with the Creationist camp because of its support for theism. Although Unificationists often take a strong stance against evolution, a rejection of evolution is not required by the underlying teaching, and the situation is actually far from clear.

There is a middle ground in the debate between creation and evolution: It does not have to be creation or evolution, but can be both creation and evolution. This is the message of Divine Principle, when it suggests that internal and external truth should develop in full consonance.

If we are to bring about a true unity between science and religion, what is needed is a more inclusive approach, which can be derived from the ontology in Divine Principle and an acceptance of the validity of scientific knowledge. Unification Thought provides fertile ground for exploring the relationship between religion and evolution.

In contrast to the Creationist a priori rejection of evolution, one of the goals of Unificationism is to establish a unity between science and religion. Exposition of the Divine Principle clearly addresses the importance and significance of science. It states “the way of religion and the way of science should be integrated and their problems resolved in one united undertaking; the two aspects of truth, internal and external, should develop in full consonance.”

The text also acknowledges the validity of scientific knowledge, and even goes further in suggesting that religious teaching has changed over time to come closer to science. “Today,” it asserts, “people will not accept what is not demonstrable by the logic of science … Indeed, throughout the long course of history, religions have been moving toward the point when their teachings could be elucidated scientifically.”

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